Text: Psalm 113
Theme: A song of praise
Other Lessons: Amos 8:4–7; 1 Timothy 2:1–15; Luke 16:1–15
A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. Psalm 113 serves as our sermon text for this morning, which reads as
(1) Praise the LORD! Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of
(2) Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and forevermore!
(3) From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to
(4) The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens!
(5) Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high,
(6) who looks far down on the heavens and the earth?
(7) He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
(8) to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people.
(9) He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of
children. Praise the LORD!
This is the Word of the Lord.
C. Grace, mercy, and peace from God our heavenly Father and from our Lord
and Savior, Jesus Christ.
D. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
819 Sing Praise to God, the Highest Good
Sing praise to God, the highest good,
The author of creation,
The God of love who understood
Our need for His salvation.
With healing balm our souls He fills
And ev’ry faithless murmur stills:
To God all praise and glory!
A. “Heigh Ho, heigh ho. It’s off to work we go.”
1. You may remember the song.
2. The seven dwarfs sing it as they finish work in the diamond mine.
3. What Walt Disney put into a cartoon back in 1937 had long been part of
various cultures around the world: the work song.
4. Those who study folklore and music from the cultural and social aspects
of the people who make it have studied extensively the way in which music
has been associated with work.
5. For example, railroad workers would spend their days laying the rails.
6. To do this, they would take ten-pound hammers, swing them in a full
circle, and strike the spike that would hold down the rails and ties.
7. A work song would coordinate the labor.
8. The rhythm of the song set the pace for swinging.
9. The joining of voices united the workers, and the call and response kept
B. This morning, we meditate on Psalm 113.
1. Psalm 113 is known as a Praise (Hallel) Psalm.
2. It was one of a set of six psalms that were sung at Passover.
3. As Israel gathered to remember the Passover, they would sing Psalm 113
at the beginning of their celebration.
4. While technically this is not a work psalm:
A. Israel is not doing any labor as she sings these words
B. this psalm does celebrate God’s gracious work
C. it shows how God Graciously Cares for His People and joins with His
people in praise as they serve in his kingdom.
I. Celebration: This psalm teaches us to celebrate God’s gracious work.
1. One of the intriguing things about work songs is that they join
something we often think of as pleasurable—singing—with a difficult and
menial task—laying rails for a train.
2. We are accustomed to keeping the joy of singing and the struggle of work
separate, but work songs join the two.
1. In a similar way, our psalm joins together two things that we tend to
2. On the one hand, we have the utter transcendence of God.
3. As you listen to the opening of the psalm, you realize how utterly
“other” God is.
a. The Lord is enthroned in eternity.
b. Time passes in our world.
c. Kings and rulers come and go.
d. But the Lord is seated in the heavenly realms, and his rule never began
and never ends.
e. It just always is.
4. Not only is the Lord ruling in eternity but his rule also extends over
a. From the east to the west, the Lord is in control.
b. There is no space over which he has no control.
5. On the other hand, we have the utter nearness of God.
a. This God who is seated above the heavens and the earth is also able to
see the smallest thing on earth.
b. He is able to care for the poor and the needy.
c. Those who gather their food from trash heaps are the ones that this
Almighty God notices.
d. The people whose lives pass by and leave no mark on the world are the
ones that God marks and claims as his own.
1. The psalmist calls for us to praise the Lord, and indeed we should
2. Out of his gracious love, the Lord of all things chose to come into this
world and to die on the cross.
a. Jesus Christ, who is truly God, became truly man that he might bear the
suffering of all sin for you and bring the joy of all salvation to you.
3. Jesus joins the joy of the song of salvation to the painful burdens that
we carry and the suffering that we endure in this world.
a. We are chosen by God.
b. There is no person so small, no sin so hidden that Jesus does not take
it upon himself and bring to you the grace of God.
II. Serving: This psalm guides our work in God’s kingdom.
1. Work songs strengthen the bonds of community.
2. By offering:
a. a rhythm to work,
b. by joining the voices of workers,
c. by lifting the spirits of those who are burdened,
d. work songs forge bonds between workers as they do what they have been
called to do.
3. Illustration: while having dental work a few weeks ago, the dental
assistant was playing music from a playlist to one of the music services.
a. She was singing!
b. The dentist was singing!
c. I tried but failed to sing!
d. The music helped lighten the mood.
e. It took my attention away from the work that was being done on me.
1. In our readings today, we see how often the church has forgotten this
2. In Amos, we overhear God’s people singing a song of self-service.
a. They are ignoring the poor and needy.
3. In the Epistle, we hear about what we are to do:
A. Praying for all people.
B. Know your place.
4. In the Gospel, we hear the religious leaders singing a song of greed.
a. They, too, are ignoring the poor and needy.
5. But the Psalm is given to God’s people to change our way of living in
a. Rather than live for ourselves, we learn to join our Lord’s mission and
care for others.
b. Not only has Christ redeemed us from our sin but he also has joined us
together as a people who live in a kingdom where he loves.
c. There are no insignificant members of our community as we bear one
another’s burdens and thus fulfill the love of Christ.
A. Here in Arkansas, we have the misfortune of living in what is called a
1. People traveling from New York to Los Angeles “fly over” Arkansas.
2. For some, this way of travel symbolizes a way of life.
3. There are large sections of our country that people choose to ignore
because they are seen as undesirable or unnecessary.
4. They fly over them.
5. The elite, who hold a great deal of influence in culture and society,
see flyover states as inconsequential.
6. They are something to be flown over rather than visited.
B. Jesus, however, did something quite different, even radical.
1. When the cultural elites were in Rome, Jesus chose to be born in
Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth.
2. He did this because, in the kingdom of God, there are no flyover states.
C. “The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens!”
the psalmist says.
1. One might expect him just to fly over.
a. “Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down
on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts
the needy from the ash heap” (Psalm 113:4–7).
D. Every person is important.
1. God desires to save all people.
2. Such salvation does not come easily.
3. It is not an empire flown over from east to the west.
4. No, it comes by visitation in the flesh.
5. Jesus takes on flesh and dwells among people.
6. He bears their sin and becomes their Savior so that every place, no
matter how small, and every person, no matter how humble, is great in the
eyes of God.
7. In saving love, Jesus dwells among rather than flies over his people.
E. Let us pray:
All who confess Christ’s holy name,
Give God the praise and glory.
Let all who know His pow’r proclaim
Aloud the wondrous story.
Cast ev’ry idol from its throne,
For God is God, and He alone:
To God all praise and glory!
Text: Public domain
F. The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus.
G. In the Name of the Father…Amen.